Ford has revealed that it is hopeful that the new Ford Focus ST will make its debut in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship next season.
The manufacturer used the SEMA show in Las Vegas to announce that the new Focus will become the base for a next-generation touring car for use in global competition, with private race teams aiding Ford in developing a base technical specification for the car.
The initial car will be build to the FIA's Super 2000 rules, although it can be adapted to other specifications – which will include the NGTC regulations being brought into play for the 2011 BTCC season.
Ford will support the teams it is working with by providing data and production parts, resulting in teams racing more competitive cars that are developed with greater efficiency.
While the new Focus will be eligible for a range of championships, Ford's statement said the first race appearance was targeted to be in the 2011 BTCC season.
“There has been tremendous interest from the racing world about the new Focus, and it's the perfect fit for a global touring car,” said Jost Capito, director of Global Performance Vehicles and Motorsports Business Development. “Even more, by working with private race teams, we're ensuring Focus has the support it needs to compete and win.
“Ford's commitment to using motorsports to influence high-performance vehicles will be highly evident, as the development of the Focus touring car will benefit the upcoming Focus ST road car. It's very similar to how the Ford Racing Boss 302R brought significant lessons learned to the 2012 Mustang Boss 302.”
Ford was represented in the BTCC for a second straight season in 2010 by Team Aon, with Tom Chilton and Tom Onslow-Cole winning seven races in LPG-powered Focus STs.